Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Carpe Diem..Time for an Energy Audit....


Periodic energy audits can save you money. So can a few simple adjustments in your home. Here are a few to get you started in the right direction.

* Vacuum the condenser coil of your refrigerator often and check the door seal to make sure it doesn't leak.

* Try to run your dishwasher only once a day and choose the water-saving cycle.

* Toilet handles that stick should be replaced.

* Only wash full loads of clothing and pre-soak when possible. If you must wash a partial load, adjust the water level. Did you know most clothes are just as clean when you wash them in cold water?

* Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every use and wash occasionally to remove the coating left by dryer sheets.

* Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees and use an insulation wrap. It only costs about $20 and helps hold the heat inside.

* Turn off whatever is not being used - lights, fans, TVs, etc.

* Fix dripping faucets to reduce water usage.

* Replace your most used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent bulbs. You'll keep your home cooler in the summer and save money in energy costs.

* Check and replace filters each month on your heating and air conditioning units.

* Replace single pane windows with low e-coated or ENERGY STAR windows. Storm windows will also conserve energy.

* When it's time to replace appliances or mechanicals in your home, look for items that contain the ENERGY STAR label. It's the government's rating program that shows you which items are more efficient.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prudential gen. of Real Estate Firms

Market Leaders Unite to Form Prudential Rubloff Properties

Prudential Preferred Properties and Rubloff today announced the merger of Rubloff Residential Properties with Prudential Preferred Properties.

The combined company will operate as Prudential Rubloff Properties, an independently owned and operated firm with 17 offices and nearly 900 sales professionals and staff. Prudential Rubloff has a formidable presence in Chicago’s high-end markets of Cook and Lake counties, and in Michigan’s exclusive Harbor Country. The two firms closed more than $2 billion in real estate sales in 2008; both outpace any major brokerage in Cook and Lake counties for highest average list and sales price.

The merger bonds two of Chicago’s most respected firms whose distinguished roots trace back nearly 80 years. Principals Chris Eigel and Michael Pierson, longtime veterans of Chicagoland real estate, will lead the new company as chief executive officer and president/chairman. Rubloff principals Howard Weinstein and Tom Horwich complete the Prudential Rubloff leadership team and will continue with the firm focusing on future growth in the metropolitan market.

“Rubloff is a revered Chicagoland company – part of Chicago’s cultural fabric for philanthropy, civic development and distinguished real estate services,” said Pierson. “Of course, Prudential is recognized globally for strength, integrity and innovation since 1875.”

Weinstein, who with Horwich acquired Rubloff Residential Properties in 1996, said the company’s strong, local ownership will respond quickly to Chicagoland market opportunities and challenges. “Both firms have similar business philosophies, market segments and corporate cultures, making the union an ideal fit,” he explained. “Rubloff’s nearly 80-year history of excellence continues, as the firm expands onto Chicago’s coveted North Shore to fulfill one of founder Arthur Rubloff’s dreams.”

Added Horwich: “Prudential Rubloff changes the landscape of Chicagoland real estate. The company is now a powerhouse of agent and client services that establishes a new level of service throughout Chicagoland.”

As real estate technology leaders, the merging companies bring to the union a full array of online resources and proprietary lead-generation tools. Both companies are known for their technology and marketing innovation. Prudential Rubloff will use the award-winning website, integrating technology and online tools from both organizations.

“Together the two firms will boast Chicagoland’s finest team of sales professionals and managers,” said Eigel. “When other real estate companies are cutting back, Prudential Rubloff is doubling efforts.”

Earl Lee, president of Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, added: “Two fine organizations join forces and instantly jump to the forefront of Chicagoland real estate. We are ecstatic to broaden our brand in these key markets as Prudential Rubloff.”

Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc. is Prudential’s integrated real estate brokerage franchise and relocation services business. Prudential Real Estate franchises are independently owned and operated.

Companies are selected based upon outstanding performance records, high levels of customer service and shared business values with those of Prudential.

Prudential Real Estate provides franchises with business strategies using Operation Reviews as well as numerous benefits, including access to Prudential Real Estate’s Online Seller AdvantageSM program designed to provide real-time information to sellers with the touch of a keystroke. Prudential Real Estate is one of the largest real estate brokerage franchise networks in North America, with approximately 1,940 franchise offices and 62,000 sales professionals in the franchise Network as of June 30, 2009.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with approximately $580 billion of assets under management as of June 30, 2009, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping approximately 50 million individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth. The Company’s well-known Rock symbol is an icon of strength, stability, expertise and innovation that has stood the test of time. Prudential's businesses offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management, and real estate services. For more information, please visit

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Green Idea!


Trash gets no respect! But that is already changing. Production has started to create a movable power generator that will be fueled by waste products using everything from walnut shells to discarded tires. And did you know that the excessive methane gas produced by landfills can be used as energy as well?
Up till now solar and wind energy have been the best sources of renewable energies. One new plan calls for utilization of biomass materials, including agricultural wastes, cardboard, paper and sawdust. With this unit, a wood mill could incinerate sawdust and other waste creating enough power to run its machines rather than depend on diesel power.

Here's how it works. The multi piece unit has a large feed hopper and a high temperature incinerator that vaporizes the biomass as it enters. The resulting heat can turn a turbine, making up to 300 kilowatts of electricity. The unit is transportable, so everything is done on site. Instead of taking the trash to a location for burying or burning, you dispose of it at the source and create energy for use.

The output is a fraction of the capacity of an industrial power plant but because it can be transported and set up in a matter of days, it can be brought to remote areas. It's been tested on a wide range of materials, including corn cobs and husks, sugar cane residue and non-recyclable plastics. It's 75 percent efficient and has met very stringent emissions requirements.
In addition to the movable power generator, harnessing the methane naturally produced by waste breaking down in landfills is another green energy option. Methane is a primary constituent of landfill gas (LFG) and a potent greenhouse gas when released to the atmosphere. Reducing methane emissions by capturing LFG and using it as an energy source can yield substantial energy, economic, and environmental benefits. The implementation of landfill gas energy (LFGE) projects reduces greenhouse gases and air pollutants, leading to improved local air quality and reduced possible health risks. LFG projects also improve energy independence, produce cost savings, create jobs, and help local economies.